Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Travelling Tuesday - Where's Wylie?

This Tuesday at The Pink Heart Society our wandering editor Trish Wylie brings us the last of her Where's Wylie posts... well for now anyway... And she ended her American trip where she began... and left a little bit of her heart behind she feels...

There's just something about New York.

Even choosing the pictures for this blog from my vast collection has me pining to be back there again. I really did fall in love with it in a way I've never fallen for another city (and keeping in mind here that I'm a country girl at heart too!). Dublin is Dublin - friendly and fun and full of quirky history. London is London and full of grandeur and politely bustling crowds. But New York? Well there's just something so very ALIVE about the place that you can't help but feel a little more alive while you're there.

I don't think it really hit me where I was the first time until we drove closer to the Manhattan Bridge and it was laid out in front of me like some kind of surreal postcard. And I'll confess I had a giggly moment. Hey - I thought - That's New York - I'M IN NEW YORK!!! And we drove in through Times Square all lit up at night and it was just... A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! There truly aren't words. I had to unceremoniously dump my cases and head straight downstairs to a sidewalk cafe to sip coffee and take in the sounds and it was LATE and there were still people EVERYWHERE and you could hear that oh-so-distinctive honking noise that emergency vehicles make ECHOING FROM STREETS AWAY so you could never quite tell where it was coming from and.... I WAS IN NEW YORK.

It was as well I was as tired as I was, because honestly I was like a child on Christmas Eve. And VERY UNCHARACTERISTICALLY I was up and on the go at the scrape of dawn the next day. But I think New York kinda does that to you - you really don't want to miss a thing. And there's just SO MUCH to see! So after very yummy pancakes and maple syrup to fortify me (we just don't do pancakes as large here at home and they tend to be had with tea later in the day and maple syrup costs a FORTUNE) I headed off to sign up for one of the first of many open top bus tours that I was to take of the city (BOTH times) And on that first day I managed to take in a lot of Manhattan and did Ellis and Liberty Islands and spent AGES soaking in the atmosphere in Battery Park and then did some more of the bus tour and... y'know - the day just wasn't long enough - even with the RIDICULOUS HEAT!

I saw hilariously funny street entertainers, children playing in fountains, NYC Police officers on horseback. I gaped at how truly HUGE the Statue Of Liberty is. I felt quite emotional when I walked around Ellis Island with the voices of immigrants telling me their stories in my ears thanks to the audio tour. I stood for ages looking at the mangled globe mounted in tribute to 9/11 (transported from Ground Zero to Battery Park). I saw the steps of the Courthouse from shows like Law And Order, saw the library that starred in films like Ghostbusters and The Day After Tomorrow. And can I point out that this was just the FIRST DAY...

See what I mean?

On my second day I took the tour that guided us around Central Park and along the edge of the island of Manhattan that overlooks Brooklyn. I saw where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived (the place he was shot), I learned about the millionaires who built mansions around the edges of the Park given to allow New Yorkers a little bit of the country in the midst of the madness of the City. I saw Royal Navy sailors walking around the City in their white uniforms as if it was an everyday occurrance. I was told about the cheapest places to shop for clothes and designer labels *cough* like Rolek Watches (and that's not a spelling mistake). I mentally made notes of where places like the Guggenheim and Natural History Museum where in the hope I'd get to them all. I leaned over the edge of the upper floor railing on the bus to throw down my dollar bill in exchange for the bottle of iced water thrown back up at me. I ate lunch at a hotdog stand... But the evening decision to walk back to my hotel while firmly believing I had the whole blocks/grid system straight proved a tad of a mistake for my poor bad leg in the heat - not to mention the blisters I gave myself... so that was Day Two... I DID consider a helicopter tour of the harbour and over the city but when one kinda...er...fell into the Hudson... I decided to skip that...And on Sunday I barely had time for some more wandering and picture taking and browsing the shops before I had to go get on a plane.

But that was okay - cos I knew I was coming back!!!

And d'ya know - after Houston I COULDN'T WAIT. Not that I hadn't enjoyed Houston and that drop of rain to remind me of home, but I knew I was going back to New York and THAT was just as amazing a thought the second time round, maybe even a little bit more cos I KNEW what I was coming back to! (I was even able to give sight-seeing tips to some tourists on the Shuttle Bus in from JFK...)

So on my second visit I tried to get to a lot of the places I'd missed the first time - like Brooklyn (with enough gorgeous Brownstones for heroines to live in to satisfy ANY writer) - and the Natural History Museum (which I went to on the Subway! An experience all on it's own...) - AND I got to visit the New York Harlequin Offices!!!!!!!!!!! Yup. I DID. AND I got taken out to lunch and got to pick books to read and EVERYTHING. *wriggles with glee!* And for you authors that have maybe been to the London Offices but not to the New York... this picture of the FOYER of the building pretty much says it all... Nothing quite like a Tiffany/Art Noveau ceiling, is there??? And the offices are EVERYTHING you expect them to be!!! (for you readers out there - it's HEAVEN - you could hide away in the corner of one of those gloriously-packed-with-books offices, only appear at night to sneak down the hall to the kitchen for sustenence and you could be in there for DECADES... TRUST ME...)

Oooohhh... now what else did I do??? How about the night tour where I got to see Little Italy packed to the gills with people who really DO shout 'How you doin?' or Harlem Street Market where no-one bats an eyelid as they walk past the famous Apollo Theatre or when I recognized the Archway you see in the opening credits of Friends... how about eating lunch in a gorgeous Italian Restaurant where you're charged by the WEIGHT of your plate? Or calming stepping out into the street to hail a cab to take me somewhere where I could GIVE THE DIRECTIONS all confident about cross streets like I'd been doing it for years... or how about shopping for souvenirs in Times Square at ELEVEN O'CLOCK AT NIGHT (not called the city that doesn't sleep for NOTHING my friends!)...

And how about spending my last night on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building taking pictures of the New York skyline all lit up??? Can you understand yet why I left a little piece of my heart behind???

There is so so much I'll remember about my first trip to the States this summer. I'll remember that very first glimpse of New York - the two lovely girls who talked to me in the queue for the ferry to Liberty in Battery Park in the blazing heat - the people who thought it was *cute* that some random blonde girl was taking pictures of a small leprechaun beside the sign for Ellis Island - the beauty of Georgetown in Washington - the poignancy of the boots left at the base of the Vietnam War Memorial - how much the Holocost Museum broke my heart and the love story one survivor told on a film there about when she met her future husband as the US Army liberated her with fellow women who survived the death marches - the helicopter with THE PRESIDENT IN IT landing next to my hotel while I had lunch in the rooftop restaurant - the marine who guarded the tomb of the unknown soldier in over 100 flipping degress of heat!!! - the many, many wonderful new friends I met in Dallas and the Editors I danced with (I jest you not) and the INSANE amount of people in one place at one time and the talking books til you were hoarse and the author friends I know will be friends for life - SOUTHFORK RANCH in all it's glory - the thunder and lightning in Houston - my first ever IHop food - Visiting NASA and that FIVE STORIES HIGH CINEMA SCREEN - flying back into New York over Manhattan AT NIGHT when you could see Time's Square lit up from the SKY - visiting the offices in New York and that lovely lunch - The Empire State Building lit up at night with that light reflected off the rainclouds it was disappearing into - the NYC Cop who made the mistake of posing for pics with tourists in Times Square and then COULDN'T GET AWAY - the pics I was able to take of where SPIDERMAN WORKS for my nephew who LOVES HIM - all the WONDERFUL STORIES the NYC Tourguides told and how their different personalities made every tour that little bit different - The New York skyline from 86 flipping stories up while I HATE HEIGHTS and the TERRIFYING speed at which the elevator counted the stories on the way DOWN - the shopping, OH-DEAR-HEAVEN-THE-SHOPPING...

And then - at JFK Airport on the way home... the small crowd that had gathered to watch what I thought was an ad being filmed... so I joined them at the rail for a minute cos I'd been so good about checking in early and I was feeling somewhat euphoric about not having been charged excess baggage weight (had to buy a second suitcase mind you...) And that moment when I realized I was actually watching a MOVIE being filmed ('Old Dogs' according to the crew who had to move us off to the side cos we were interfering with the shot... apparently...) - and right there - across the airport from me - were Robin Williams and John Travolta !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sigh. Yup. It was ONE HELL OF A TRIP... Worth beavering away in a cave for a year I feel. Now.... where would you like me to trek to next?... oh, and can I interest anyone in CALIFORNIA next year????

H's & K's

Trish is THRILLED to bring her first Modern Extra book White-Hot
to the USA & Canada this month as part of the Promotional
Presents mini-series - Eligible Bachelors along with books by Kate Hardy, Kelly Hunter & Julie Cohen.

Released as The Firefighter's Chosen Bride the book is available through the Eharlequin Site and at Amazon. You can also buy it as an E-Book here!!!
For more info visit her Website or her Blog. (where you can also read more of the travelogues she did from her trip...)


  1. I'm exhausted just reading about it!!!!

  2. *waves hand* I'm up for California!! I think some wine tasting might have to happen as well.

  3. LOL Nicolette... Wellllll I DID schedule in a coupla days lying by a hotel swimming pool with some of my conference books... but you guys didn't really want to *har* about that ;)

    I do feel I packed plenty into my three weeks tho. Seemed a shame to go that distance and not really...

    *PENCILS BIDDY IN FOR CALI and adds BIG STAR besdie her name for suggesting THE WINE...* - Gosh I know some poeple who are just GENIUSES!

  4. OMG, NYC is my city, of course, as a native New Yorker, and just looking at the pictures makes me want to be there. I love the city. I know exactly what you mean about how the skyline of the city hits you as you approach it, whether in the car or a plane -- gives me goosebumps every time. It's a fantastic place. :)

    And yes, California next year. I made my first trip there last Sept, and planning on RWA in 2008, but there's no place like NY.


  5. I still get that rush of excitement every time I go there (at least monthly). It doesn't wear off because the energy of the place is so unique. Since I discovered Feng Shui I think part of it is all that Chi rushing way too fast along all those totally straight avenues and making everyone feel giddy and rushed. And the soundtrack of sirens. Mostly it's the people, though :-) I love the way you describe the city. You must be a writer or something.........


  6. Hi Trish

    Wow! Sounds like you love NYC almost as much as me. I got married there too. In New York city hall on the eve of the Ireland-Italy 1994 World Cup Game. Totally spur of the moment (even though our first son was almost two). It was sooo fab with my plastic flowers, my $20 ring from 8th Avenue and breakfast at the Rockefella Plaza. Then Ireland won as well!

    I managed to fit the place into my first two books. I can't think of anywhere more romantic.

  7. Trish,
    I can feel the love...lol...but you make me exhausted!!!
    You make NY'ers proud... [not one, but share your appreciation...]

    Hope you write about this in your books.

  8. Trish,

    I just luurve NYC too!!!! I got engaged in a horse drawn carriage in Central Park 18 months ago and it has had a hold over me ever since.

    Heidi, I'm getting married there too next year (hopefully - if we ever get round to setting a date!!)

    Penny x

  9. Are we Napa wining before or after the conference? Hmm? How mellow shall we be?